Long Exposure Photography

I have always wondered how people could click photographs at night that came out so clear and still. In my pursuit of the perfect night shot – I tried numerous settings but always to my disappointment. I was ever challenged getting blurred/ less exposed pictures.

The mastery with long exposure photography came along with my new camera Canon 550D with which I could control shutter speed and exposure, as opposed to my previous camera that came with only 1 Sec of shutter speed and no manual mode function.

One day while returning from Putrajya KL, after experimenting with long exposure; I got to take one of my best shots of long exposure photography.  Overlooking a bridge connecting the main road to my hotel room I decided to take a shot of busy road.

To my satisfaction and immense pleasure I got my best photograph till that date.

The specifications being

Shutter speed: 20 Sec; F-Number: f/25; ISO:  100

Long Exposure Photography

In this image lights are captured as beautiful stars and the reason is f-number, F-number should be smaller.

Also a very important equipment for the long exposure photography is a Tripod. A tripod gives oneself great flexibility to capture the angles required while keeping your camera steady for those long exposures.

If you don’t have a tripod you might end up with the image like below although I love this image :)

Long Exposure Photography


But with a tripod and the right composition of ISO, F-number and shutter speed you can get an image like below.

Shutter speed: 10 Sec ; F-number : f/6.3 ; ISO :  100

Long Exposure Photography

Reflection of light in water makes this composition very beautiful.

If we talk about photography at night or a long exposure photography , There are three adjustable elements that control the exposure – ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed.

If you have a control on these three elements you will defiantly get better photographs.

As per my experience while talking long exposure shoot at night you can have settings as below :

ISO : In between 100-400

F – Number : In between f/18 – f/22

Shutter Speed: 20 Sec

Some of my other long exposure photographs which I have taken at Putrajaya .

Long Exposure Photography

Long Exposure Photography

The best part of digital photography is, the costs are next to nothing to experiment with the camera’s controls, so go out there and shoot away. You want to become increasingly proficient with all three elements of the exposure triangle, so that you can make adjustments on the fly and know exactly what the resulting effect is going to be.

 I hope this article has encouraged you to get out tonight and see how beautifully-different our world is under the light of the moon and street lamps. I’d love to hear your thoughts and techniques in the comments.

Neeraj Khandelwal

A self-taught photographer from Jaipur (India) and currently living in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Neeraj practices the trade as a hobby. He claims everything he knows about photography is from magazines, friends an online articles. A curiosity whenever he saw a telling photograph, thinking what could have been the story behind it, how beautifully it portrays the emotions, or how good is the frame composition… from basic intrigue, it grew to be an obsession. Anytime he sees something amazing, the first thoughts are: “Okay, how would this look in a frame?” What Neeraj also loves is go out and explore new places. But of course, capturing those new things remains a part and parcel of it.

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